“Nobody should die from malaria. But the world faces a new reality: as progress stagnates, we are at risk of squandering years of toil, investment and success in reducing the number of people suffering from the disease. We recognise we have to do something different – now. So today we are launching a country-focused and -led plan to take comprehensive action against malaria by making our work more effective where it counts most – at local level” – Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.
WHO and Partners have joined country-led responses to get malaria control back on track. Malaria, a disease transmitted by female anopheles mosquitos, has caused millions of deaths in endemic countries, especially among vulnerable populations – children under five and pregnant women.
Efforts at controlling malaria have stalled over the years, thus reversing the gains in malaria-related morbidity and mortality. This is according to the new World Malaria Report 2018.
Malaria is endemic in Africa. According to WHO, “in 2017, approximately 70% of all malaria cases (151 million) and deaths (274 000) were concentrated in 11 countries: 10 in Africa (Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda and United Republic of Tanzania) and India. And there were “3.5 million more malaria cases reported in these 10 African countries in 2017 compared to the previous year, while India, however, showed progress in reducing its disease burden.”
Furthermore, despite increases in the distribution and use of Long Lasting Insecticide Nets (LLINs), there are still significant coverage gaps, which may be driving the increases seen in the number of new cases of malaria, particularly in Africa.